When should fundraising goals be set?

Look at any crowdfunding campaign page and the chances are there is a goal prominently displayed for all to see. At GoGetFunding , we know how important this can be – we researched where it should be placed on the page and even what size it should be to make it most effective and eye-catching for donors. 
The most important thing you as a campaign owner needs to do, is research. Does the crowdfunding platform have any clauses such as an ‘all or nothing’ rule where if you do not reach the goal, you do not get the funds? Or, do they perhaps have an additional surcharge or penalty you must pay if you want access to funds raised should you fail to reach your goal?
We don’t have any of those distractions, our ‘keep all’ policy means whatever your raise, you keep (once our standard fees are applied). Even better, we allow you to have access to those funds even when your campaign is still running – meaning you don’t have to set a goal, just to be sure you can access your hard earned funds.
So, should campaigns always set a goal? The answer is; it depends.
Take a look at these different scenarios:
‘I need to raise $2000 to fix my car’.
Straightforward. The fundraiser needs a set amount for a set cost they have been quoted. They even have the bill uploaded to their campaign to prove how much it is going to cost. This is clearly a campaign that should have a goal as this will be a great motivation for donors.
‘I’ve been accepted to take part in a volunteer placement, but I need £2,000 to secure my place . I don’t have the funds to do this myself, which is where I hope you guys will come in’
They have made it clear they need that money, and without it, they are unlikely to attend their volunteer placement. Everyone knows that there are likely to be other expenses or unexpected costs involved, so for this type of campaign, we would recommend setting a goal (so that it is clear what is needed) but also allow for overfunding – where donors can still donate, even if you have reached your target.
‘We are a small charity that provides support and counselling to vulnerable adults in the local area. We receive no funding, so rely on donations to keep our vital service available. Can you help us?’
Here, it is clear there is no specific financial goal. They have not stated they need ‘x’ amount to stay open for the next 6 months. They are using their campaign page as a door for donors to walk through and donate. A goal really isn’t necessary – and could actually hinder future donations once the goal is reached.

‘Hi guys! Can’t believe I’m doing this. I’ve just signed up for a 10k run. It’s for Cancer Research. All donations welcome!’
Just like the volunteer placement, a goal is a great incentive, but the campaign owner should definitely allow for overfunding.
‘Our local dog shelter is in desperate need of a new roof and supplies. Please help those who can’t help themselves’
This campaign has two objectives – the larger costs of the new roof, but the smaller ongoing costs of running and maintaining the shelter. For this type of campaign we would always advise campaign owners to focus on the most important project. So again, here a target would really work to help motivate donors and fundraisers.
‘Charlie is unique. We knew that he would be, before he was even born. His life-limiting condition also means he will need a lifetime of care. If you can spare anything to help ensure Charlie has everything he needs during his short time with us, you have our eternal gratitude.’
For this type of campaign (in fact for many long term medical campaigns ), no goal is needed, the powerful appeal more than conveys the need for help and support – which is hugely motivating, regardless.
So what should you bear in mind?

Think about the story before the financial goal. This will usually help you decide whether your campaign could benefit from a goal or not.
Research which crowdfunding platform will not penalise your decision
Understand that fundraising pages without a target can take longer to get established, but overall are equally successful
You can change your mind. If not having a target isn’t working for you, or if your circumstances change, make sure your crowdfunding platform allows your campaign to evolve.

Are you ready now? Lets GoGetFunding!